Maryland Parks and Rec issues zero-tolerance policy for youth sports fans
In a move worth celebrating, the Maryland parks and recreation department has laid down the law and issued a zero-tolerance policy for disruptive fans at youth sports games, reports Jason Scott of Athletic Business.
Needless to say, this has CoachUp more than excited. For too long, parents and spectectors have long made these sporting events more or less about themselves. Whether that's yelling at a coach for not playing their child or heckling an umpire for a bad call, the competitive nature of youth sports has spilled over into uncharted territory. County director Rick Anthony said that the new rule seeks to neutralize and eliminate unsportsmanlike behavior.
“It’s basically zero tolerance,” Anthony said. “Any verbal or threatening actions, and games will be canceled. We are trying to take the initiative as best we can. This is not going to continue.”
Of course, the focus at these games should be on the athletes and, in most cases, the celebration of the sport. Once parents start trying to change the fate or direction of a youth sports game, we're all in trouble. Maryland is issuing the change after they needed to cancel games already this fall, even needing police to intervene in some instances.
“We all want the kids to be safe,” [a spokesperson for the police department] told the paper. “We don’t think it’s a waste of manpower, but we also think it’s a shame that parents behave like this. We are going to let people know we aren’t going to tolerate misbehavior at youth games.”
Which, honestly, is brilliant. This effectively lets parents know that their actions not only make those around them uncomfortable, but it will also completely cancel their children's games -- we suspect that the tide will change immediately. If you think dealing with a bad strike three call is difficult, think about telling your child that their game was canceled because you were yelling and fighting with others.
“Some people just can’t seem to control themselves. They come out here ramped up for a 10-year-old’s game like it’s the Ravens.”
Good on you, Maryland -- we may just save youth sports yet!
Rec Department Issues Zero-Tolerance Policy for Fans -- Jason Scott -- Athletic Business